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Biographical entry Cornforth, Rita (1915 - 2012)


16 November 1915
Bexley, New South Wales, Australia
6 November 2012
Sussex, United Kingdom
Alternative Names
  • Harradence, Rita (Birth name)


Lady Rita Cornforth was a chemist and the wife of Nobel Prize recipient Sir John Warcup Cornforth. They collaborated on a total of 41 papers that focused on enzyme stereochemistry. The Rita and John Cornforth Medal has been awarded by the University of Sydney since 2011. In 2018 the Royal Australian Chemical Institute instituted the Rita Cornforth Lectureship to provide an outstanding female early career chemist with the opportunity to advance her career.



Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc), The University of Sydney
Education - Master of Science (MSc), The University of Sydney
1939 - 1941
Education - 1851 Exhibition Scholarship to study at Oxford, England
Education - Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), Oxford, England

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Oral History Collection

  • Sir John Cornforth interviewed by Ann Turner for the Australians of the year oral history project [sound recording], 1995, ORAL TRC 3288; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Journal Articles

  • Purchase, R. and Hanson, J. R., 'Sir John and Lady Cornforth: a distinguished chemical partnership', Science Progress, vol. 98, no. 3, 2015, pp. 212-8. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Veitch, Harriet, 'Australian chemist who won Nobel Prize', The Age, 21 December 2013, p. 20. Details

Rebecca Rigby